Inside the Numbers: Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys
After hitting the road for four consecutive weeks, including three games on the East Coast, the Cardinals finally get a chance to play at home, and they’ll do so against the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.
Dallas is coming off a 42-17 road loss against the Broncos where running back Ezekiel Elliott endured the worst performance of his young career, carrying the ball nine times for eight yards.
Arizona’s overall franchise record on Mondays is 9-15-1 (7-8-1 at home and 2-7 on the road).
The Cardinals have won three straight home games on Monday night against the Jets (28-3 in 2016), Ravens (26-18 in 2015) and Chargers (18-17 in 2014).
Here is a look inside the numbers for the two teams before they clash in primetime.
— Quarterback Carson Palmer passed for 332 yards and a touchdown last week, moving his career totals to 44,869 career passing yards, passing Drew Bledsoe (44,611) for 13th on the all-time list.
Palmer had 249 pass yards and three touchdowns for a 103.7 QB rating in the teams’ last meeting, and is 5-0 with 11 touchdowns to one interception for a 98.5 rating in his past five outings against NFC East teams.
Palmer ranks last among starting quarterbacks by competing only 54.4 percent of his passes. He’s currently tied with Bengals QB Andy Dalton and Browns QB DeShone Kizer with a league-high four interceptions.
— Running back Chris Johnson had 131 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his only career meeting against Dallas on Oct. 10, 2010 with Tennessee.
Johnson eventually will end up being the starter after finishing last week with 11 carries for 41 yards. He also showed some burst in the open field.
— Receiver J.J, Nelson led the team with five catches for 120 yards and a touchdown last week, giving him seven touchdowns — six receiving, one rushing — in his past seven games. He aims for his third game in row with a receiving score. Since 2015, Nelson leads the NFL with 18.7 yards per catch.
His performance against the Colts earned Nelson the NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor, making him just the third wide receiver in Cardinals history to win the award. The other two receivers are Larry Fitzgerald and Roy Green.
— Fitzgerald has 38 catches for 337 yards (84.3 per game) in his past four games at home. He’s made a catch in 197 consecutive games is the third-longest streak in NFL history.
— LB Chandler Jones had seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble last week. He aims for his fifth game in row with sack. Jones has eight sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries during his past nine home games.
It should be a great matchup with Jones against Dallas tackle Tyron Smith, who hasn’t given up a sack in the last 11 games but has yielded some pressures.
— LB Karlos Dansby led the team with 10 tackles in Week 2. He aims for his fifth game in a row with seven-plus tackles.
Dansby is second on the team with 19 tackles, just one less than first-round pick Haason Reddick.
Dansby said during the week the Cardinals need to stop Dallas on first and second downs; the Cowboys have one of the better offensive lines in football starting with Smith at left tackle, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin.
— Safety Tyrann Mathieu had a key interception and two passes defensed in Week 2. He had five tackles and a pick in his only career meeting against Dallas in 2014.
Mathieu could be on receiver Cole Beasley, a very underrated slot receiver likely targeted on third downs and in the red zone.
— CB Patrick Peterson has 20 interceptions since 2011, tied for third in the NFL in that span.
— Quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 238 yards and two scores last week in the loss to Denver. In nine career road games, he has 14 touchdowns and five interceptions for a passing rating of 96.7.
The second-year pro is 10-3 with 15 touchdowns and four picks for a 96.4 rating in 13 career games facing NFC opponents.
The Cardinals must keep Prescott in the pocket and force him to make play with his arm. Prescott can extend plays with his mobility.
— RB Ezekiel Elliott has 785 rushing yards (98.1 per game) and eight touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving) in eight career road games. He has five rushing scores in the past five road games. The second-year back out of Ohio State has 100+ scrimmage yards in seven of the last nine outings.
— TE Jason Witten led Dallas with 10 catches for 97 yards a touchdown in Week 2, his 11th career game with 10 or more receptions. He aims for his fourth game in a row against the Cardinals with five or more catches.
The veteran has 1,106 career receptions and passed Hall-of-Famers Cris Carter (1,101) and Marvin Harrison (1,102) for the fourth most catches all-time in NFL history. He became the second tight end in NFL history with 12,000-plus receiving yards, joining Tony Gonzalez (15,127).
The Cardinals had trouble last week with tight ends — Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett was 9-of-9 for 99 yards when throwing to Jack Doyle (8-for-8) and Brandon Williams (1-for-1).
— WR Dez Bryant had a touchdown catch in Week 2 and has five in 10 career games facing the NFC West. He aims for his third in a row with a touchdown reception against Arizona.
— Cornerback Patrick Peterson will cover Bryant on Monday. He’s been targeted 25 times with only nine receptions for 102 yards and one touchdown against him.
NFL Leaders – Receiving TDs (Week 8 of ’16 – present)
Rnk Player (Team) TDs
1. Jordy Nelson (GB) 10
2t. J.J. Nelson (AZ) 8
2t. Dez Bryant (Dal) 8
2t. Davante Adams (GB) 8
5t. Odell Beckham, Jr. (NYG) 7
5t. Antonio Brown (Pit) 7
5t. Mike Evans (TB) 7
5t. Rishard Matthews (Ten) 7
5t. Kenny Stills (Mia) 7
— Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence had two sacks and a forced fumble last week, his third career multi-sack game. He’s aiming for his third in a row with two-plus sacks.
Lawrence has power at the point of attack and could give the Cardinals’ makeshift offensive line problems.
— LB Sean Lee had seven tackles a pass defensed in the teams’ last meeting. He’s compiled 42 tackles (10.5 per game) in the past four games against the NFC West. Since 2015, Lee ranks second in the NFL with 290 tackles.
Lee is the brains of the Cowboys’ defense, and it will be a good chess match with Lee against Palmer.
The numbers are courtesy of NFL Media and the Arizona Cardinals.